When IO Interactive decided to bring back the Hitman franchise this past March, I called it a “return to form”. Since then, the series has had three episodes release, with a fifth slated for September 27th. In lieu of reviews for Episodes 2-4, we have decided to quickly break down the series as it is now, and whether or not it’s still worth purchasing after a couple of months on the market.
Something that we didn’t touch on too much in the review for Episode 1 was just how talented the team at IO Interactive is at designing levels. Each level seems to take place in its own tiny, self-contained world with Agent 47 being the thread that ties it all together. While the first episode placed you in the middle of a fancy party filled with the high-caliber company in Paris, the second took you to Sapienza, a sun-soaked beach town that introduced new ways to off your targets. The third, Marrakesh, takes place in the middle of what is essentially a giant political conspiracy. The fourth, and probably the weakest of the bunch (although still incredibly well done), is Bangkok, in another multi-leveled mansion-esque house.
The levels themselves are all designed very carefully, but it’s in the finer things that the game starts to shine. In each environment, you can always find NPCs off on their own, often having conversations about whatever is taking place amidst the backdrop of your assassination spree. Take Marrakesh, for instance; if you look close enough, you’ll find NPCs protesting the local government, citizens discussing politics that can help clear up the story for you, all of which does a tremendous job at slowly crafting the story that takes place across all 7 episodes.
As stated back in March, the main draw of the new Hitman series is in the tools of the trade. Agent 47 has a variety of ways to take out his targets and every episode brings you new toys to find. Due to the constant bustling of nearby NPCs, costumes are not at a premium, and finding a disguise in order to change up how you go about taking out someone is easy enough to do (though not without risks in certain places).
The thing that makes this game the best Hitman in some time is that the team behind it understands what makes Hitman a fun title to play through. It isn’t just about killing people and progressing. It’s about understanding the flow of your targets and solving the puzzle that becomes some of the AI. This game is filled with wonderful locales that each have their own unique NPCs to “solve”. This immerses you into the world of Agent 47 and forces you to think like an actual contract killer.
Of course, no game is perfect and Hitman is certainly not without its faults. The voice acting throughout the series begins to falter once you hit the 3rd or 4th episode. It’s clear that a lot of the same voices and accents are being tossed around, although it’s hard to fault them for not having an entire army of people to use. Some of the locations, while beautiful, don’t feel as “real” as they could. The most recent episode, Bangkok, features a building that essentially could be confused for any other building in a stealth game. The only way to know its Bangkok is because of the backdrop of it, which is a shame.
Four episodes into the series, and I think it’s safe to say that this is one of the finest Hitman entries in its long history and deservedly so. The team behind the game not only understands what it means to make a Hitman game, but they are carefully building each level with enough content for multiple hour playthroughs. If you haven’t yet picked up the first four episodes, I would highly suggest doing so now, as you won’t be disappointed.
Final Verdict: Must Buy
Have any of you already purchased or are considering purchasing this game? Please feel free to let us know in the comments section below.